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Innovative Clothing Solutions for People with Disabilities

Author: Open Style Lab : Contact:

Published: 2015-08-10 : (Rev. 2015-11-18)


On August 15, Open Style Lab Fellows share their designs that solve disability-related clothing challenges at the MIT Museum.

Main Digest

8 Innovative Clothing Solutions for People with Disabilities Debut at MIT Museum.

Imagine having a chronic condition that caused searing facial pain at the slightest stimuli, such as a light breeze...

Imagine the frustration of fruitless searches for a warm pair of winter boots, because nothing currently on the market can fit over an ankle-foot orthosis... (and, naturally, it wouldn't hurt if they were cute.)

Imagine that a recent diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) resulted in arm muscle weakness that made it difficult to walk...

These are three of the many examples of clothing challenges people with disabilities face on a daily basis. Perhaps our readers do not need to imagine these situations, because they themselves, or a loved one live these realities.

It is exactly these dressing challenges that Open Style Lab (OSL), a non-profit housed at MIT's International Design Center takes on.

Currently in its second year, OSL's flagship educational program invites engineers, designers and occupational therapists to team up with clients with disabilities.

A custom molded face mask with a heating element, designed to protect and alleviate chronic facial pain.
A custom molded face mask with a heating element, designed to protect and alleviate chronic facial pain.

Over 10 weeks this summer, 8 teams created innovative and stylish clothing solutions with the guidance of industry experts.

The teams will be presenting their final products to the public at the MIT Museum on August 15 from 2-4pm.

The OSL Team, program participants and clients invite the public to hear the stories behind enhanced baseball caps, heating masks and ultra-absorbent PJs, and perhaps try them on for size.

The event is open to the public, and MIT Museum fees apply.

The teams will also be sharing their narratives and designs on the first 4 Saturdays of October at the Museum of Science

For more information on OSL, please visit

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